I am a complete newbie to permaculture but I really want to learn. Starting in 2011, I plan to devote 12 to 18 months to volunteering/WWOOFing on permaculture farms in the tropics. My goal is to buy or long-term lease a few acres in tropical Southeast Asia shortly after that and start my own "food forest" (I'm looking at Borneo right now - I grew up in Singapore and love that area of the world).
Do you think volunteering/WWOOFing is the best way to get a crash course in practical permaculture? I don't want to go the university route though I may be interested in an advanced certification course down the road.
If you know of people practicing permaculture in the tropics (preferably Asia) who take volunteers I would love to hear about it!
Over the rest of 2010 I am going to read up on permaculture as much as possible and maybe do a few weeks of organic farm WWOOFing to start getting my hands dirty. Any other suggestions to get prepared would be much appreciated
the tropics are really outside my ken, but I have run into a few folks practicing permaculture in the low latitudes. Chris Shanks et alia of Project Bona Fide in Nicaragua come to mind immediately. there are certainly others, so keep asking. you might have better luck on some other forums that tend to have a stronger orientation toward the tropics.
I returned from Sarawak (Malaysia Borneo) a few months back and had 'introduced' WWOOF'ing to an expat there who has an organic farm which is also his home. From what i can tell he had begun to use principals in permaculture on the property which is actually very pretty. He had not even heard of permaculture before i visited him and he seems to have a pretty good idea of the concept. Perhaps you can contact him and see what you can work out just in case you decide to visit that area. His email is email@example.com and he does have a blog of which i have forgotten the address. Sorry! p/s the name of his farm is 'The Kebun'
Brian, yes they love their goats but they had cut down their number drastically to only 40+ as their other farm animals were doing well and numbers increasing. Accordingly they are also an organic farm and hence since going slowly into permaculture i suppose there are limitations in numbers = practicality = setup.
The good thing is they share whatever knowledge they have on their goats and everything else, information that is sorely lacking in their end of the woods for farmers even on their goverment agriculture linked websites.
Hope you realise your dream in Borneo, Cheers, Noel
Unfortunately, I'm too late but we'd have welcomed you to our Moonriver Lodge farm, near Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. We are very new and trying to practise our permaculture knowledge in the farm as best we could. We are also working to build a Permaculture Childrens' Garden and would welcome any help/skills/experience from anyone who has a love for nature and believes in sustainability. Do come visit us next round. www.moonriverlodge.com
Hello! Not sure where you are at with your permaculture but I have a suggestion: I found a farm on my travels last year in northern Thailand which I fell in love with. I spent almost 2 months living on the farm. Sandot, the owner is one of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my life and he is a keen permaculture enthusiast. Tacomepai - the name of the farm - runs a permaculture course every 6 months and I think there is options to stay on at the farm after completion of the course to practise what you have learnt.
I didn't have the time to do the course when I was there but I plan on going back to do it as well as visit all the beautiful friends I made on the farm. It really is a little slice of paradise and I miss it so much!
Good luck for all your adventures ahead and I hope you enjoy the happiness of life!
I highly recommend the Maya Mountain Research Farm in Southern Belize, near Guatemala and Honduras. I am teaching their 10th annual permaculture course there with Starhawk and Marisha Auerbach in February. They are one of the best examples of tropical permaculture I have visited, have a wonderful apprentice program and working there is great fun. See http://mmrfbz.org for information.
For volunteering in Asia you can do it at low or now cost with WWOOF Thailand. They do Permaculture Certificate Courses at low rates (compared to home) usually about $600 usd for a two week PDC course (that includes food and accommodation) so it a great deal. You can pay for your trip and get the PDC certificate for the cost of just the course in the West. WWOOF's Thailand website www.wwoofthailand.com
Also WWOOF in Thailand is closely aligned with "Permaculture Institute of Thailand" www.permacultureinstitutethailand.org and many WWOOF hosts in Thailand are Permaculture projects where you can go volunteer for no or very low cost.
I have a wonderful volunteer opportunity to offer to the permaculture community. I am looking for a long term volunteer couple or pair of friends who would like to help us build a productive farm at Eden Eco Village in Southern Cambodia We would like to create gardens to provide food for our Resort guests as well as to demonstrate new farming modalities in action to local Khmer people. Room and board and a small stipend of $100/month will be provided in return for 8hrs of work per day. We are looking for a couple with at least a few months to devote to the project. the right applicant will have some practical experience in alternative farming methods as well as a wealth of ideas and enthusiasm. Please PM me on FB for more information. http://www.edenkampot.com/